Keeping Pet Fish: How to Select the Right Fish For Your Aquarium

pet fish

You’ve just bought a new aquarium and are getting it all set up—but which pet fish will you purchase for the tank?

At face value, it sounds simple—go to a pet store and just select some fish you like. However, there are actually a lot of considerations before you dive into the world of owning fish!

Ready to learn more? If so, keep reading to find our guide to keeping fish and our top tips for purchasing the best fish for your tank.

First: Is Your Aquarium Freshwater or Saltwater?

When thinking about pet fish types, the choices will vary based on the type of aquarium you have. Aquariums can be freshwater or saltwater—most beginner-level hobbyists will have freshwater tanks, as they’re easier to keep, but others will have saltwater.

Most fish can’t survive in the wrong environment, which means if you put saltwater fish in a freshwater tank, for example, they sadly won’t live very long.

This means that before you purchase any new species of fish, be sure you understand what type of water they live in and what temperature they prefer. Fish that prefer warmer water mean that your tank will need a heater.

How Much Experience Do You Have With Keeping Pet Fish?

The best fish for an aquarium depends on your level of experience. Are you new to keeping fish, or is this something you’ve been doing for years?

This question is important because anyone new to the hobby will want to start with hardy fish that are easy to manage.

Best Fish for Beginners

Brand new to the aquarium world? If so, we highly recommend starting with a freshwater tank. Here are some of the best freshwater fish for beginners:

  • Goldfish
  • Mollies
  • Neon tetras
  • Zebrafish

Generally, these fish will be happy as long as you keep their tank at the right temperature, clean it regularly, remove algae, and feed them once or twice per day.

The fish mentioned above are also beautiful to observe, with bright colors and beautiful designs, so you’re sure to enjoy keeping them in your tank.

More Advanced Fish Types

What if you’re a more experienced aquarium fan? In that case, you might consider setting up a saltwater tank, as this opens up more options in terms of tropical fish.

You can keep angelfish and other colorful beauties, but they often require precise water temperatures and more TLC than other fish species. Although saltwater fish are beautiful, they’re very sensitive to changes in their environment, which means you need to be willing to spend more time on tank maintenance for them.

Speak With a Reputable Pet Store for Suggestions

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of the choices, it can be hard to make a decision. In that case, one of your best options is to visit a local aquarium store.

Your big-box, chain pet stores aren’t always the best option, so look for a locally-owned aquarium store that specializes in fish. There, you can chat with an aquarium expert about the size and type of your tank, plus the type of fish you like.

They can then give you personalized recommendations that would suit your setup.

Add Variety With Other Aquarium Creatures

In addition to selecting your fish, remember that you can add more into your tank than just fish! This will not only add variety, but it also creates more of a natural ecosystem, which builds a healthy environment.

Any tank can benefit from real plants, rather than plastic, as they add oxygen to the water and also make the tank look more realistic. You can also add crabs and snails, and bottom dwellers like catfish, as they help keep your tank clean.

Another fun option to think about is axolotl. These curious and unique-looking creatures are a type of water-dwelling salamander. They look like something out of a cartoon show, but they’re actually friendly pets that do well in aquariums.

If you’re thinking of adding one to your tank, these types of axolotl are good options.

Make Sure You Think About Compatibility

When selecting fish, one more important thing to consider is compatibility. Not all fish types can live happily with others!

This is where doing research is really important. Take the time to read up on each type of fish you’re considering, making sure it’s safe to introduce into your tank.

As a general rule, large fish are often likely to eat much smaller fish, so it’s a good idea to select fish types that are all similar in size. Some fish are also territorial, so if you want to keep these fish, they need to be in a separate tank.

Find the Right Pet Fish for Your Aquarium With This Guide

If you’re ready to add some pet fish into your aquarium, use the tips in this article to help you find the perfect pets! Take your time, do plenty of research, and then introduce your new fish slowly into your tank, so they can adjust.

Soon, your colorful new tank will be up and running and you can enjoy the fun of aquariums for years to come! Take it from us though, it can be addicting—you’ll soon want to upgrade to an even bigger tank!

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